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Image Gallery: Colorful Creatures of the Philippines

sea slug

(Image credit: Terry Gosliner, California Academy of Sciences.)

Researchers at the California Academy of Sciences and their colleagues from the University of the Philippines and the National Museum of the Philippines conducted a 42-day expedition this past spring to survey Luzon Island, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago, as well as its surrounding waters. The results were huge: They discovered more than 300 new species, from colorful sea slugs (shown here: aeolid nudibranch, or sea slug) to deep-sea armored corals and inflatable sharks. See for yourself!

Creepy Crab

creepy crab from Philippines

(Image credit: California Academy of Sciences)

A likely new species of Petalomera crab from the deep sea, discovered during a 2011 expedition to the Philippines.

Swell Shark

swell shark

(Image credit: Stephanie Stone, California Academy of Sciences.)

A new species of swell shark from the deep sea. To scare off predators, this shark can inflate its stomach with water to bulk up.

Deflated Duo

swell sharks

(Image credit: Stephanie Stone, California Academy of Sciences.)

These swell sharks can make like giants by inflating their bellies with water.

Purple Cutie

purple and orange sea slug

(Image credit: Terry Gosliner, California Academy of Sciences.)

A new species of Nembrotha nudibranch (also known as a sea slug) that was discovered during the California Academy of Sciences' 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition.

Toxic Mollusk

colorful sea slug

(Image credit: Terry Gosliner, California Academy of Sciences. )

A new species of Phyllidia nudibranch (also known as a sea slug) that was discovered during the California Academy of Sciences' 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition. These brightly colored mollusks don't need shells for protection — instead they produce powerful toxins to keep potential predators at bay.

Pink Coral

pink soft coral

(Image credit: Gary Williams, California Academy of Sciences. )

A remarkably tall (up to a half meter), tree-like soft coral seen only in the deeper waters of a few dive sites in the Philippines. This animal is an unidentified and likely new species of the genus Umbeliulifera. At night, all parts of the animal are fully extended for feeding on plankton.

Got Wood?

deep-sea sea star

(Image credit: California Academy of Sciences.)

A new species of deep-water sea star in the family Caymanostellidae that digests wood.

Red Urchin

red sea urchin

(Image credit: California Academy of Sciences.)

A potential new species of the urchin Echinothrix, with a distinctive red color that differentiates it from the more brownish, white-banded Echinothrix calamaris.

Coral Worm

Myrianida worm

(Image credit: Chrissy Piotrowski, California Academy of Sciences. )

This colorful worm is likely a new species of the genus Myrianida, which was found in coral rubble in the Philippines.

Tiny Barnacle

barnacle living on black coral

(Image credit: Terry Gosliner, California Academy of Sciences.)

A new species of barnacle (bulge in the center of the photo) in the family Oxynaspididae living symbiotically on a black coral.